Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Jamaican Culture - The Jamaican Christmas

Christmas is a very special time for Jamaicans - even if they are living outside of their country - Jamaica, W.I.

Beginning with the first day of December, Jamaicans begin to feel the 'Christmas Breeze' and prepare for Christmas. Houses are re-painted, new curtains are hung, christmas decorations are placed in and outside of houses and Christmas shopping begins.

The stores and other business places are also well decorated.

Poinsettias would now be in full bloom, Sorrel (a Jamaican favourite Christmas drink) would be available and Jamaicans prepare to make their Christmas cakes. The Jamaican Christmas Cake is a dark, rich spicy cake which includes fruits soaked in wine and white rum. The Jamaican Christmas dinner would not be complete without the Jamaican Christmas cake. Read my blog of December 16, 2005 entitled 'The Jamaican Culture - Jamaican Christmas Cake' for a Jamaican Christmas Cake recipe.

For Jamaicans, the 'Christmas dinner' is extremely important and it will include rice and peas, baked ham (the leg), chicken, roast beef, roast pork and potato salad.

The gungo peas is a favourite for the Jamaican 'rice and peas' dish and it is used to make soup with the bone from the ham after Christmas. This soup is known as the 'ham bone soup'.

During the year, Jamaicans will use red peas for their rice and peas and their soup dishes but, at Christmas, this is usually substituted for the gungo peas.

The Jamaican Christmas also includes the singing of traditional Christmas Carols and there are now Reggae versions for some of these Carols.

A Jamaican Christmas would not be complete without the John Canoe and Grand Market although the John Canoe is not as popular now as it was when I was a child. John Canoe is a celebration involving persons with various costumes including 'Horse Head', 'Queen', 'King' 'Policeman' and 'Belly Woman'. The John Canoe would go through the streets accompanied by music and people would give them money.

The Grand Market involves vendors selling toys, balloons, firecrackers, food, etc. in the streets. The Grand Market was a favourite for Children.

Christmas concerts and the singing of Christmas Carols are held at a number of Churches.

Attending church services on Christmas morning and Christmas Sunday is a must for a number of Jamaicans. Churches are overflowing at this time.

Yes.... Christmastime is a special time for Jamaicans. Christmas is truly part of the Jamaican Culture!

Recipe for Sorrel Drink

Sorrel is a plant which grows on trees and is picked between November and December.

If you live outside of Jamaica, you can purchase dried sorrel in Jamaican and West Indian food stores.

1 lb Sorrel sepals
8 cups water
Sugar (sweeten to taste)
1 1/2 ozs. Ginger (cleaned and crushed)
6 Whole Cloves
2 teaspoons Allspice
2 teaspoons Cinamon (to your taste)
White Rum (to your taste)
Wine (Optional)


Thoroughly wash the sorrel sepals and place in a deep container.

Add crushed ginger, cloves, allspice and cinamon to the sorrel.

Boil water and immediately pour over sorrel mixture. Cover mixture and let steep for 24 hours.

Strain and sweeten to taste. Add rum and wine (optional).

Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serve with ice and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Tip From A Jamaican Webmaster

Building a Website is easier than you think!

Do You Have a Hobby or a Passion?

This post is unlike other previous posts to The Jamaican Culture Blog.  I would like to share some information with you about how easy it is to turn your hobby, interest, knowledge, etc. into a viable online business.

I enjoy building and repairing computers.  This is my hobby and I have been involved with it for a number of years.

I eventually decided to turn my hobby into an online business by building a Website. I provide content on my site which gives people information on how to build cheap computers using cheap computer parts. I also provide a lot of other information relating to buying cheap computer parts and ready-made computer systems.  You can view my site here.

I built my Website using a product called Site Build It! (SBI!). You can click here to read a number of real stories about successful people who have earned money from their SBI! Websites.

Click here to view this amazing video on Site Build It! Site Build It! allowed me to turn my hobby into a profitable online business. I provided the content and SBI! has provided me with all the necessary tools that created my Website. Remember, you will be writing about what you know!

After you purchase SBI!, you will be taught (via an Action Guide) how to brainstorm your site concept keywords and then use SBI's very powerful brainstorming tool to decide on your best keywords. You will simply enter your keywords into the SBI! tool and it will indicate which of the keywords will give you the maximum amount of free search engine traffic, but with the minimum amount of competition. In other words, the amount of existing Websites competing for the exact keywords as yours.

After following the instructions provided by this fantastic SBI! Action Guide, I started to write my cheap computer articles using the easy block-building sitebuilder provided by SBI!

As I built my pages, my site started to receive traffic first from Google and then Yahoo! and MSN.  It was such a wonderful feeling! ... thanks to SBI! 

I then joined the Google Adsense program (which is absolutely free to join) and which pays you to advertise sponsored ads.

The money that I make from Google Adsense really helps! I do NOT sell my own products. I earn commission from joining FREE Affiliate Programs.

All the information that I provide on my Cheap Computer Website is absolutely free.

If you are interested in turning your passion, hobby, interest, knowledge, etc. into an Internet business (as I did!), I would strongly recommend Site Built It! (SBI!) .  I use it and I can, therefore, say (without a doubt!) that it works!

I have also joined the SBI! free affiliate program and, if you decide to buy Site Build It!, I would like to encourage you to join the affiliate program (it's FREE!) and you could encourage your family, friends, co-workers, business associates, etc. to buy SBI!  You will earn $75.00 from their purchase and this commission is repeated when they renew their annual subscription.

Please note that SBI! is NOT a get-rich quick scheme;  so, if your plan is to make overnight money with little or no effort, I would discourage you from buying SBI!  Overnight get-rich schemes/products never work anyway!  Websites need content for its users to get information on the particular subject that they searched for and you could provide that information.

If you are really committed to doing something with your hobby, interest, knowledge, etc. and you will be willing to follow the SBI! Action Guide, I would like to recommend that you give serious consideration to trying Site Build It! 

The tools provided are so easy to use that even if you do not know anything about Website building, you can build a site using Site Built It! (SBI!). I am a living example - I knew absolutely nothing about building a Website before using SBI!  The majority of SBI! owners built their first site without knowing anything about building a site! Just follow SBI!'s Action Guide and you will succeed.  After all .... you have nothing to lose... You will receive a full refund if you feel that SBI! was not for you!  So, why not give Site Build It! a try?  You can click here.

All the best of luck to you!.....from The Jamaican Culture Blog Webmaster.

The Jamaican Culture - You will know a Jamaican when they......

  • Try to get your attention with a "psst...." sound.

  • Offer to help you with a problem -Jamaicans are very kind people.

  • Are your neighbours - They will always be there for you!

  • Laugh! A Jamaican laugh is spontaneous.

  • Refer to "small little" when they mean "tiny".

  • Have a kerosene lamp with a "Home Sweet Home" shade.

  • Tell a stranger "good morning", "good evening", "good night" - This is definitely part of our culture!

  • Cannot have Sunday dinner without rice and peas.

  • Go to the bathroom to "tidy".

  • Are your employees - Some of the best employees you will ever find.

  • Carry fried fish and bammy when travelling overseas.

  • Have Dettol or Bay Rum in their cupboard.

  • Refer to soda as "soft drink" or "aerated water".

  • Refer to Orientals as "Missa Chin or Miss Chin".

  • Refer to "horse dead and cow fat" in reference to a story.

  • "Hiss" their teeth in anger.

  • Say "glass of cold ice water".

  • Refer to green bananas, yams, etc. as "food".

  • Refer to mixed drink such as lemonade or fruit punch as "drinks".

  • Say "Simit" when pronouncing the name "Smith".

  • Blink their eyes (cut eye) when displeased with someone.

  • Use overproof white rum instead of rubbing alcohol.

  • Point to someone or something by pushing their mouth forward.

  • Refer to all nail polish (regardless of brand!) as "Cutex".

  • Refer to margarine as "cooking butter".

  • Refer to butter as "best butter".

  • Refer to supermarket plastic bags as "scandal bags".

Jamaicans are a unique people. We have our own language and our own way of expressing ourselves!

This is truly ..........."The Jamaican Culture"!

The Jamaican Culture - Do You Remember?......

Are you old enough to remember the "good ole Days" in Jamaica?  "Ole" is Jamaican Patois which translates "Old").

See below and try to remember the good "ole time" Jamaican days!: (NoteTo enable persons who are not Jamaicans to be able to read and understand this post, I have translated each item immediately following the question).  Enjoy!

  • "Jolly Joseph" (J.O.S.)
    The Jamaica Omnibus Service buses - This was a public transportation bus service used by commuters in Kingston - the Capital City.

  • The Lou and Ranny Show?
    A nightly show starring the late Louise Bennett (Miss Lou) and the late Ranny Williams (Mass Ran).

  • Red floor polish?
    This was a red polish which was applied to wood floors.

  • Coconut brush?
    Made from the dried coconut and was used to brush the wood floors after the red floor polish was applied.

  • Rediffusion?
    A radio which was tuned to one radio station in Jamaica named Radio Jamaica & Rediffusion (RJR).

  • Charlie Babcock - "The Cool Fool with the live jive"?
    A radio personality.  He was Canadian and he was employed to a radio station in Jamaica. Charlie Babcock continuously identified himself on radio as "This is Charlie Babcock, the cool fool with the live jive".

  • Neville Willoughby,  Adrian Robinson, Tony Verity, Dottie Dean (Dorothy La Croix) and Roy Reid?
    Favourite Jamaican announcers and programme hosts.

  • "Dulcemina"?
    A radio soap opera which was extremely popular in Jamaica.

  • Eating Paradise plum, ju-jup, car sweetie and icy-mint?
    Jamaican sweets loved by both Jamaican adults and children.

  • Suck-Suck?
    A mixture of syrup or Kool-Aid and water which was frozen in plastic bags.  This was loved by both Jamaican adults and children.

  • Jack Ass corn?
    An extremely tough biscuit.

  • Stinkin' toe?
    A Jamaican fruit which had an extremely strong smell.

  • Rolling Calf?
    Jamaican folklore - A ghost with a chain.  When the "rolling calf" was moving around, the chain would be heard rolling along!

  • The peanut cart with the whistle?
    A peanut vendor moving around with a cart with a whistle (like a kettle). The sound of the whistle could be heard a far way off and Jamaicans would be waiting at their gates for the vendor's arrival.

  • Sno cone which was later called Sky Juice?
    Shaved iced with syrup.

  • Back and Front?
    Shaved ice with syrup and a dab of ice cream on top - Nice!

  • Teenage Dance Party?  (T.A.D.P.)
    Pioneered by Jamaican musician Sonny Bradshaw. It was a radio programme which introduced Jamaican music to radio.

  • Asham?
    Roasted corn, which was ground to a powder and sweetened with sugar. Care had to be taken when eaten since the powder could cause coughing!

  • The "Fortunes of Floralee?
    A popular radio soap opera.

  • The "Black Heart" man?
    A wicked ghost!

  • Anansi Stories?
    Stories told about the Anancy. This was extremely popular among Jamaicans of all ages. As a child, these stories were told at bedtime. The late "Miss Lou" was famous for telling these stories. "Anansi Stories" is now phrased by Jamaicans when referring to information given that is not true.

  • Bulla?
    A sweet cake which includes flour, spices, baking soda and is dark in colour.

  • Bullo Slush?
    Free lunch given to students attending primary schools. This was a Government aid to children.

  • Eating Crust?
    Eating patty crust.

  • Grand Market?
    Grand Market (also called Christmas Market) is a popular Jamaican Christmas celebration.  The main streets leading to the market are blocked and no vehicles are allowed access. Parents took their children to Grand Market to purchase toys and gifts.

  • GBs?
    A rubber and canvas bootie (shoes).

  • Bata Shoes Store?
    A famous shoe store in Jamaica.

We should never forget these very "Good Ole Days in Jamaica!"

This is truly .....The Jamaican Culture!

Monday, July 31, 2006

"Walk Good" Miss Lou!

Tribute to The Late Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, O.M, O.J., M.B.E., Dip R.A.D.A., D. Litt (Hon)

(September 17, 1919 - July 27, 2006)

Jamaica's Cultural Icon, the Honourable Louise Bennett-Coverley, died in Toronto, Canada on Thursday, July 27, 2006.

"Miss Lou", as she was affectionately called by the Jamaican people,
was a household name in Jamaica. Her contribution to Jamaica's cultural development was second to none. She was a Culture Preserver and earned the title Jamaica's Cultural Ambassador.

She was a Jamaican Poet and the country's leading Comedienne. Her poems (which were in Patois) brought out all the various facets of the Jamaican culture.

At first, Louise Bennett used to be 'out of favour' with educated Jamaicans who looked down at Patois since they believed in speaking Oxford English.

Miss Lou made Jamaicans proud of their Patois and was instrumental in helping them to recognize that this unique dialect will always remain a part of their cultural heritage.

She was a Poet, Storyteller, Actress and Broadcaster who devoted her life to the study of Jamaican folklore.

Some of her publications were:

Verses in Jamaican Dialect - 1942

Anancy Stories and Poems in Dialect - 1944

Anancy Stories and Dialect Verse - 1950

Lulu Says: Dialect Verses with Glossary - 1952

Laugh with Louise: A collection of Jamaican FolkLore, Stories, Songs and Verses - 1961

Jamaican Labrish - 1966

Anancy and Miss Lou - 1979

Lawd … Di Riddim Sweet: Explains the context of a number of Jamaican folk songs and poems

Aunty Roachy Seh: Collection of monologues in prose - 1993

Louise Bennett's poems will always remain current and relevant in the Jamaican society. She was successful in her mission to have folklore recognized as an important part of the Jamaican Culture and because of her perseverance, Patois was 'legitimized'.

Miss Lou brought respect to the Jamaican Culture especially the Dialect. She made Patois an important part of the Jamaican Culture and was instrumental in its international recognition.

Miss Lou had several sound recordings which included "Anancy Stories", "Listen to Louise" and "Miss Lou's Views".

She promoted the Jamaican Culture by lecturing and performing throughout the world on this subject and was a Celebrity within her own country, Jamaica, W.I.

The famous Jamaican weekly radio show - "The Lou and Ranny Show" had Jamaicans (including myself!) glued to their radio every week that this comedy was being aired. "Miss Lou" and "Mass Ran" became an inseparable duo in the Jamaican theatre and were loved dearly by the Jamaican people. Ranny Williams ("Mass Ran") died some years ago.

Louise Bennett, along with Ranny Williams, took part in leading humourous roles in several Jamaican Pantomimes and television shows. Going to these Pantomimes was a Jamaican tradition for us Jamaicans. I will always cherish the memories of attending these annual Pantomimes!

Miss Lou was inducted as a Fellow of the Institute of Jamaica at the Little Theatre in Jamaica.

Miss Lou hosted several radio shows in Jamaica and was the host on the famous Jamaican children's TV show "Ring Ding".

Her outstanding contribution to the development of Arts and Culture in Jamaica earned her several awards.

In recognition of her work as an Author, Dramatist and Comedienne, she was awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire); for her work in Jamaican Literature and Theatre - the Norman Manley Award for Excellence; the Order of Jamaica (O.J. - Jamaica's highest Order) for her work in the field of Native Culture and the Gold Musgrave Medal in 1978 in recognition for her contribution to the Development of the Arts in Jamaica and the Caribbean.

On Jamaica’s Independence Day in 2001, Miss Lou was presented with the Order of Merit (O.M.) for her distinguished contribution to the development of the Arts and Culture.

She received Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Letters from both the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, West Indies and the York University, Toronto, Canada.

She was also appointed Cultural Ambassador at Large for Jamaica by the Jamaican Government.

Louise Bennett was married to Eric Coverley who pre-deceased her.

I could not end this Tribute to this great and outstanding uncrowned queen of Jamaica without quoting one of her famous poems. Here it is - Enjoy!:

This poem relates to a Jamaican returning from the United States of America without a 'twang' (accent) which is unlike a Jamaican!

"No Lickle Twang"

Me glad fi see yuh come back, bwoy,
But lawd, yuh let me dung
Me shame a yuh so till all a
Me proudness drop a grung.
Yuh mean yuh go dah Merica
An spen six whole mont deh,
An come back not a piece better
Dan how yuh did go weh?
Bwoy, yuh no shame? Is so yuh come?
After yuh tan so lang!
Not even lickle language, bwoy?
Not even lickle twang?

An yuh sister what work ongle
One week wid Merican
She talk so nice now dat we have
De jooce fi understand?
Bwoy, yuh couldn improve yuhself!
An yuh get so much pay?
Yuh spen six mont a foreign, an
Come back ugly same way?
Not even a drapes trousiz, or
A pass de riddim coat?
Bwoy, not even a gole teet or
A gole chain roun yuh troat?

Suppose me laas me pass go introjooce
Yuh to a stranger
As me lamented son what lately
Come from Merica!
Dem hooda laugh after me, bwoy!
Me couldn tell dem so!
Dem hooda seh me lie, yuh wasa
Spen time back a Mocho!
No back-answer me, bwoy - yuh talk
Too bad! Shet up yuh mout!
Ah doan know how yuh an yuh puppa
Gwine to meck it out.
Ef yuh waan please him, meck him tink
Yuh bring back someting new.
Yuh always call him 'Pa' - dis evenin
When him comes seh 'Poo’.

This is truly The Jamaican Culture!

"Miss Lou, I salute you! Walk good, Miss Lou!"

May her soul rest in peace!

("Walk Good" was popularly used by Miss Lou and is a Jamaican "goodbye"!)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dunn's River Falls - Jamaica's Pride!

Jamaica's Dunn's River Falls is one of the Island's national treasures. The Falls is world famous and is an extremely popular tourist attraction.

Dunn's River Falls is located near the town of Ocho Rios which is in the Parish of St. Ann.

The cascading flow of water down the rocks causes the regeneration of the rocks from the deposits of calcium carbonate present in the water from the river.

Climbing the falls will be the highlight of your trip.

After visiting the falls for the first time, you will definitely want to return!

Jamaica's Dunn's River Falls - Truly... a sight to behold!


The following comment was made to my Blog and I would like to say a very special "thank you" to the person who spared the time to write this beautiful comment about one of the most beautiful islands in the world .... Jamaica, W.I. Here is the comment:

"In my first visit to the island I expected it to be just another vacation, but it was so much more. I immediately fell in love with the beautiful smiles of the people. It will be a place that I will return to as often as I can. I have never had so many strangers make you feel at home, it was actually the first vacation that I did not get home sick on. It will always be a special place for me".

If you would like to purchase cheap computers or computer parts or learn to build your own cheap computer, Click here to visit this Web site.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Jamaican Culture - The Jerk Pit

The Jerk Pit - A Jamaican Restaurant

Jamaican jerk is a special blend of spices used to season meat. The three main ingredients are pepper, pimento (allspice) and thyme. Other spices and herbs could include escallion (green onion), garlic, cloves, salt, cinnamon and ginger. The meat is seasoned with the blend of herbs and spices and left to marinate overnight. It is then grilled. Delicious!

If you are a Jamaican or just LOVE Jamaican spicey food and you live in Baltimore, Maryland in the vicinity of the University of Maryland, you should visit the Jerk Pit. This is a real Jamaican restaurant which serves a variety of very tasty jerk dishes. Other Jamaican dishes are also served.

You can visit the Website and also enjoy some Bob Marley music by clicking here.

It is located in the Campus Villages, 8145-C Baltimore Avenue, College Park, MD 20740 (2 blocks north of the University of Maryland). Telephone: 301-982-JERK (5375). Opening hours are Monday through Thursday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Friday and Saturday 11:00 AM to midnight.

This restaurant is owned and operated by the very charming Lisa Waddell-Rose, a Jamaican living in Maryland. Lisa is a perfectionist and her food speaks for itself! Lisa is my wife's niece.

Lisa also sells Jamaican coconut water (thirst quenching!) and Jamaican T-shirts.

Spread the word about this restaurant! Do you know anyone living in or who visits the Baltimore area near to the University of Maryland? Tell them to check out this restaurant. They will not regret it! The food is irie! Yeah man!

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Jamaican Culture - A Jamaican Market

Here are some pictures taken in a Jamaican market showing sorrel, gungo peas and miscellaneous produce.

Some Jamaicans will get their produce at the supermarkets but, for some Jamaicans, going to the market is a must! They feel that the market has better quality produce and the items are available at a cheaper price since they will 'bargain' with the individual market vendors.

The above picture shows various Jamaican produce. Some of the produce shown are irish potatoes, pumpkin, cabbages and tomatoes. Also shown is a scale being used to weigh yams. This picture was taken on a Friday when there is much activity in the Jamaican market.

Gungo peas is shown in the above picture and is a favourite among many Jamaicans, including my wife and I. It is grown by a number of Jamaicans especially in the rural areas.

In the United States, it is called 'pigeon peas' and is available in tins (both green and dry) in most supermarkets. Caribbean supermarkets are the only supermarkets that I have seen gungo peas untinned. Jamaicans prefer the untinned gungo.

Gungo peas is eaten in a variety of ways by Jamaicans such as rice and peas, stewed gungo and gungo peas soup (with ham bone after Christmas!). Gungo peas is very popular at Christmas time. Most Jamaicans prefer eating green gungo at Christmas and Christmas is not the same without gungo peas. After Christmas, it is time for gungo peas soup with the ham bone left back from the Christmas ham!

If you visit some Jamaican homes the following week after Christmas, the meal will be gungo peas and ham bone soup! You will also notice a number of family members and friends present that day to get their soup.

Another Jamaican favourite is red kidney beans which is also used to make the same dishes as gungo peas but the favorite dishes for these beans is 'stew peas and rice', 'rice and peas' and 'red peas soup'. The Jamaican 'man in the street' calls red kidney beans 'red peas' - If you say 'red kidney beans', a number of Jamaicans will not know what you are referring to!

Above is a picture of sorrel which makes an all-time Jamaican favourite drink at Christmas time! It's a delicious drink!

This is truly the Jamaican Culture!